This teacher's death was ruled a suicide, but her parents — citing 20 stab wounds — say she was murdered
Ellen Greenberg, 27, was found dead by her fiancé, Samuel Goldberg, in her kitchen with a 10-inch knife in her chest. Their apartment had been locked from the inside, and Goldberg was forced to break down the door in order to enter.
Police reported at the time that the 27-year-old had been stabbed 20 times in total, including 10 times on the back of her neck. However, officers investigating the case were originally "leaning" toward ruling it a suicide, as there were no signs of an intruder and Greenberg had no wounds indicating self-defense.
Assistant Philadelphia Medical Examiner Marlon Osbourne refuted that theory though, originally ruling Greenberg's death a homicide following her autopsy. However, police continued to investigate a possible suicide, finding that the teacher struggled with "severe anxiety" and had even asked her parents if she could move back home.
Those investigations led to a reversal by the medical examiner's office, which ruled in March of 2011 that Greenberg's death was, in fact, a suicide.
Greenberg's parents have refuted that decision for the past eight years, demanding answers in what they say was a murder.
"It doesn’t add up," her mother, Sandra Greenberg, told the Philadelphia Enquirer in March, "We just want to know the truth."
Now the couple has put legal action behind their claims. On Tuesday, the Greenburgs officially filed paperwork to sue the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office and the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, asking that their daughter's cause of death be changed to homicide or, at the very least, "undetermined."
"That will allow for further investigation to proceed and ultimately, perhaps, a more definitive manner of death can be selected," the family's lawyer Joseph Podraza Jr, told the Philadelphia Enquirer.
The lawsuit alleges that the medical examiner's ruling was inaccurate and that there were likely multiple knives involved in Greenburg's death. Podraza has even brought in a consulting firm — which constructed a 3D reenactment of the scene — in order to support their case.
"It’s impossible that she could have inflicted all 20 wounds and I think it’s tellingly demonstrated in this re-creation," Podraza said.
Podraza is also claiming that some of Greenburg's previous stab wounds, such as those to her neck, would have been enough to incapacitate her so much that she could not have delivered the final blow to her chest.
"I don’t understand how they wrote this off as a suicide," Cyril H. Wecht, a forensic pathologist, told the Philadelphia Enquirer of the case earlier this year.
The Greenbergs said they believed the ruling in their daughter's cause of death was made on limited evidence, adding that she deserved a full investigation.
"I’m disgusted and disappointed and punched in the stomach," Josh Greenberg said at the time. “But this is not over."